Does stereotype threat affect test performance of minorities and women? A meta-analysis of experimental evidence

J Appl Psychol. 2008 Nov;93(6):1314-34. doi: 10.1037/a0012702.


A meta-analysis of stereotype threat effects was conducted and an overall mean effect size of |.26| was found, but true moderator effects existed. A series of hierarchical moderator analyses evidenced differential effects of race- versus gender-based stereotypes. Women experienced smaller performance decrements than did minorities when tests were difficult: mean ds = |.36| and |.43|, respectively. For women, subtle threat-activating cues produced the largest effect, followed by blatant and moderately explicit cues: ds = |.24|, |.18|, and |.17|, respectively; explicit threat-removal strategies were more effective in reducing stereotype threat effects than subtle ones: ds = |.14| and |.33|, respectively. For minorities, moderately explicit stereotype threat-activating cues produced the largest effect, followed by blatant and subtle cues: ds = |.64|, |.41|, and |.22|, respectively; explicit removal strategies enhanced stereotype threat effects compared with subtle strategies: ds = |.80| and |.34|, respectively. In addition, stereotype threat affected moderately math-identified women more severely than highly math-identified women: ds = |.52| and |.29|, respectively; low math-identified women suffered the least from stereotype threat: d= |.11|. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Employee Performance Appraisal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychological Tests*
  • Stereotyping*